Monday, November 20, 2006

Edith (Pugh) Abbott

My maternal grandmother, Edith [Pugh] Abbott, passed away on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at San Dimas, CA where she was a resident for 53 years. She was 97 years old and died peacefully of natural causes. She is survived by her three children Spencer and Roderick Abbott, Joyce Heringer, eight grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

Grave side services will be held at the La Verne, CA Cemetery on North B Street at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 25th, 2006.

Edith was born on March 19, 1909 in Shedd Oregon, which is near Corvallis, to Earnest A. Pugh and Etta Mae Maxwell Pugh. The Pugh families were farmers in the Willamette valley where Edith was raised on the farm that remains in the family, now owned by her nephew Rich Chandler.

The Pugh family published an extensive Pugh Family History book in 2002 which starts with the Pugh family that immigrated to America from Wales in the 18th century. Her great grandfather Francis Pugh and his wife Ruth Jessup Pugh came across the Oregon Trail in 1847 from Iowa to the Willamette Valley. The family has traced over 821 descendants spread primarily over Oregon, Washington and California. So Edith is of true pioneer stock. Horses and horsemanship were a major part of her life while growing up on the farm. She rode her horse to high school and rode in horsemanship competition in college while attending Oregon State University. Edith was very intelligent and was able to enter college at the age of 16. She met Keith Abbott at Oregon State where they both graduated from college. Her father loved to use horses on the farm so much that he was one of the last farmers to use gasoline powered farm equipment in place of horses. She either had a horse or continued to ride horses until her 60’s.

Edith worked as a teacher after college until marrying Keith Abbott. They lived in Gonzales, CA where they started their family of three children and then moved to Azusa, CA in 1942 where they lived on an orange ranch and Edith again was a teacher in the local grammar school. This was during WWII and since Keith had a heart murmur he was not accepted into the military. They used the orange ranch to create a mini-farm with horses for Edith, a goat for Roderick, a herd of pigs for Spencer to manage, chickens, rabbits and a cow that Joyce and Keith milked twice a day. We had customers come from all over to buy the farm products that were hard to get during the war. Edith and the family were involved in the local 4-H club for many years as the mini-farm was a plentiful supply for animal projects.

Now that we were in Southern California, we were able to enjoy the Gillette family gatherings at the Laurelette Ranch in San Dimas and the Laurel Clan Thanksgiving dinner gatherings with all of Keith’s side of the family. Also, the Pugh family has an annual picnic that Edith was able to attend those again in later years.

After the war, the family moved to Covina, CA where Keith and Edith bought an orchard spraying business and five acres of orange orchard from which they operated the spraying business. Keith managed the outside business and the labor crews while Edith did the book keeping and the payroll. By the late 1950’s the orchards in Los Angeles county were nearly all replaced by housing developments so the spray business was closed out, all the spray rigs sold and they developed the 5 acre property on the corner of Arrow Hwy and Glendora Ave into automotive service commercial buildings and a service station which Spencer manages as a partner with Edith.

The family joined the First Presbyterian Church of Covina in 1942. Edith was active in Woman’s Association and Bible Study groups in the church for 50 years.

Keith was an avid outdoor sportsman, fishing and hunting, and Edith enjoyed it as well so when he retired he and Edith spent much of the summer months with their travel trailer and small boat in the Northwest, fishing and visiting the Pugh family relatives. They spent much of the winter months in Baja, in a little fishing village of Puertecitos, about 150 miles south of Mexicali, on the gulf side of Baja. The fishing was great and Edith began to collect seashells. After some time she became a serious expert and it subsequently became a serious hobby for her.

She joined the Southern California Malacologist Society and after Keith passed away in 1970, this was a major part of her life and she traveled around the world to countries such as Madagascar, Indonesia and Australia collecting seashells with the Shell Society. She spent nearly 20 years volunteering time with the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History classifying and sorting seashells. Edith discovered a new species of seashell that has been named after her. She became such and expert that the Japanese government paid the cost for her and the curator of the LA Museum to travel to Japan to classify and sort seashells for them.

Edith was a wonderful wife and mother and friend to her descendants and a great number of people. She had a positive attitude that never quit. We will remember her always as a kind, loving and very capable, intelligent person.

1 comment:

  1. Our family lived across the street from the Abbott family in Azusa. The street at that time was named Bonita Avenue and later became Arrow Highway. My father managed 160 acres of oranges and 20 acres of lemons. Joyce and I were the same age, Spencer was my brother's age and Roderick was the youngest. All of us attended Center Elementary School. Joyce and I graduated there in 1946 and then onto Covina Union High School in Covina graduating in 1950. Joyce went onto college I believe at Davis and I went onto the Korean War. I got out of the service in 1956 and went into law enforcement here in Anderson, Ca. Years later I was contacted by an old classmate Ania Jobe who was calling about a Covina class reunion and told me about Joyce. I called Joyce who at the time was living with her mother, and was very fortunate to be able to talk with Mrs.Abbott. I was quite surprised when she told me she had taught in her earlier years in Cottonwood which is just five miles South of here. As I recall she did some substituting at the Center Elementary. I believe Mr. Abbott taught wood shop. They had about a four bay garage in the rear of their yard and I remember a wooden cabin boat he was either building or repairing. To make a long story short, Joyce came up for a weekend and I was able to take her in my motor home up to the Mineral Area by Mt. Lassen for the night where we had the greatest time talking about the "old days". We had dinner the next day and I drove her to Sacramento to catch her plane back to Ontario. This was to be the last time I saw Joyce. I talked to her on the phone several times and exchanged mail with her. The Abbott family were fine people and always treated me so well. I talked to Spencer a few years ago but did not know of Joyce's passing until I read this blog. Even though it is late, my condolences to the family on Joyce and her mother's passing. Don Canada Anderson, Ca